The Superior Telegram — long known as the Evening Telegram — wasn’t the first newspaper in the city at the headwaters of Lake Superior, but it was its most enduring. One of 19 newspapers that launched in Superior between 1882 and 1899, most of the Superior Telegram’s history ties back to the decision by 29-year-old newspaper veteran John T. Murphy to buy the newspaper April 21, 1890. Murphy set up shop in a small, wood-framed office at Winter Street and Tower Avenue, and published the Telegram’s first edition a few days later. At the time a weekly, the Telegram competed with three other weekly and two daily newspapers, and rose to being among two dailies left standing by the early 1900s. Once the Telegram was established, Murphy branched out in newspapers, including owning and running the Duluth News-Tribune for four years before selling it to the Duluth Herald in 1929. When John T. Murphy died in 1932, he passed the torch to his son, Morgan Murphy, who further expanded into radio and television. In the early 1980s, the torch passed again to a third generation of the Murphy family, John B. Murphy and Elizabeth Murphy Burns. By 1996, a merger created Murphy McGinnis Media, of which the Telegram was the flagship publication. In 2004, Knight Ridder Inc. purchased the Telegram and several other Murphy McGinnis publications, which sold to Forum Communications Company in 2006 as part of the Duluth-Superior newspaper group. In 2008, the Telegram returned to its roots as a weekly publication providing local news about Douglas County and its 21 communities twice a week.
Located in Wisconsin’s northwestern-most corner on the southwestern shore of Lake Superior, Superior is the only city within a largely rural Douglas County that features Wisconsin’s largest county-owned forest and four-season recreation for outdoor enthusiasts. Superior itself is an industrious town built on manufacturing and transportation, including its international port shared with its Minnesota neighbor, Duluth.